Steady As She Goes – Honest Post Book Launch Musings
What’s on the other side of publishing? Let’s say you got your book written. Let’s say you revised and edited it. Let’s say you found a publisher or decided to self-publish. Let’s say you launched your book. Now you have landed on the other side of publishing. What next? Speaking From Experience Of Publishing I write today to share my experience with you from the other side of published author. Per usual I prefer to share from an honest place. There’s a lot of hype out there and it gets in our way and encourages comparison. I am not saying your experience will be exactly like mine, but my hope is to help unpublished authors stay grounded and not be taken in by hype. I just launched my second book. Publication date was August 19 (Purchase here: The Inner Tree). I spent most of the week before and after heavily promoting my book. Lots of other things in my life were temporarily set aside for the big push. My goal was to reach #1 in a category. I made a good show by reaching #1 New Release in a category. Whew! That was a lot of work. Since then (and even before then) I have been scheduling book signings, Facebook live videos and talks. I am deep in post publication world now. Writing your book is only part of the process. Next comes editing, revision, book design and more. It takes time and work (although for me this is a work I love). Of course when we’ve put all that work into something, we want to get it out there to as many people as possible. I learned a lot from publishing book one to book two. The biggest difference for me came down to how many people I know. Like it or not, numbers do count in this business, but so does persistence. Learning From Publishing Two Books When I wrote and published my first book back in 2014, my list of people was much smaller. I personally sold about 100 copies at events and fairs and to friends and family, but I didn’t have much reach beyond that. I learned self-publishing created some limitations around book signings - most small bookstores don’t want self-published books and it was hard to get into libraries too. My first book was fiction, also creating a different level of interest. Sad as it is, most people I know in the entrepreneur world (where I tend to run around) don’t have time for fiction or just don’t read it. Fiction readers also tend to stick to specific genres and need to be cultivated – hence working sites like Goodreads is a good way to reach them. All this meant my strategy for book two was very different. My second book is non-fiction. I went with a small boutique publisher, Citrine Publishing and I am happy with the results – I received more support, more publicity, and developed relationships I would not have developed otherwise, especially with other authors in the same publishing family, which has benefits, like endorsements, advice and a sense of camaraderie. Pre-launch I did a pre-reader campaign which is a good strategy for starting publicity before publication and to receive important feedback before you publish. My launch goal was to try for best seller in a category. I am satisfied with best new release in a category. In fact I am thrilled about that. My launch strategy was very different from my first book and it involved reaching out to a lot of people via social media, newsletters, personal interaction and personal emails. I had to be very realistic about my bandwidth and to let go of things that were outside that bandwidth (I have my coaching business and teach part time too). The Long Term Strategy I am still working my strategy. I would say yes, launch is important, but it’s also good to create a slow build, to keep finding small venues to do book signings or presentations to keep the momentum going. One of my fellow authors at Citrine has been working her book for over a year now and she is still going strong and her visibility just keeps increasing. I’ve been watching her and its helping me to understand this is an ongoing effort. It’s a swim across the bay, not a splash in the pool. I need to focus on the long haul, not the short term. (Check out The Soulful Child by Chloe Rachel Galloway - an excellent read and compelling story). There is a lot of noise out there. Amazon is huge and so many people are in the publishing game these days. If I were to share insights with you I would say set goals, but don’t believe all the hype - that if you don’t do such and so, your launch will be a failure. Your launch is your launch, do your research, but make it work for you. Just because other authors found success with their strategy does not mean it is the right one for you. Keep in mind; marketing strategies often have a limited life. The more popular they become, the less effective. Goals Over Expectations After having done this, the best suggestion I can pass along is to stay positive and be realistic. Goals are one thing, expectations another. With goals, we can work towards them and put in our best effort, even if we can’t guarantee outcome. Goals are in our control. Expectations are outside our control and usually depend on other people to behave in a certain way, which is nothing more than a setup for disappointment. Other Impacts Since this book has brought greater visibility for me, I was surprised to find my anxiety has ramped up a bit. I asked my publisher if others authors experience this and she said it is not uncommon. Fear is a common response to success and jumping the next level. I found myself wondering if I am capable of next level. Fortunately I know this is a normal human response to the unknown and fear of failure – that old imposter syndrome. I write about it here to let you know you may encounter similar feelings. Don’t let your inner critic make hay with it. It’s part of the process. In fact, everything about writing and publishing a book is a process. Ultimately, I am finding it is the small impacts that mean the most to me. I wrote my book for anyone who ever struggled with trusting themselves, especially around their intuition. Thus far I have seen the impact of my book has brought hope and validation to individual people and that for me has been the best part of publishing this book. I am excited about upcoming signings and events and meeting more of those people – my tribe. And… yes, I have that little niggle in the back of my mind about writing the next book – will it be fiction or non-fiction? I am not sure and I have plenty of both inside me.
Warm Regards, Maura McCarley Torkildson